This watch first arrived in a unique condition.
The pushers were corroded past the point of functionality, so the chronograph ran constantly.
There was a thick messy layer of gummy black gunk around the inner caseback seal.
The bezel and crystal looked like they barely survived a meteor shower, and there were grains of sand lodged everywhere.
But, who doesn’t love a watch with a story?
This 145.022-69 “Premoon” Caliber 861 Speedmaster spent most of its life in politics, in the air, and in the marshlands of Florida on the wrist of an artist, pilot, and politician by the name of Milt Shirley. Mr. Shirley moved to Amelia Island, Florida in 1970 as an environmental engineer, and later went on to become Mayor. Today, he spends his time re-creating the surrounding marshlands on canvas as a well-known “marsh scene” painter.
Milt Shirley painting (www.miltshirleyart.com)
Milt purchased this watch from his banker, who used to “get stuff like that, on the side.” Mr. Shirley, now approximately 80 years young, is a jovial guy and in our short exchange it became clear he does not take life too seriously. He said he remembered liking the watch for two reasons: “One, I was a pilot and I used it while flying. Two, If my memory serves me right, Neil Armstrong was wearing one like it when he landed on the moon.”
Our conversation ended with Milt telling me, “Its OK with me whatever tale you want to make up about the watch. Good luck.”
Read Part II of this story here